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Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud

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Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud)

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) allows web-based businesses to run applications programs in Amazon Web Services ( ) private cloud. Amazon EC2 lets a developer spin up virtual machines ( VMs) that provide computing capacity for IT projects or cloud workloads. They are connected to global AWS data centers.

AWS users can quickly increase or decrease instance capacities using either the Amazon EC2 web interface or an application programming interfacing ( API ). A developer can create an application that automatically scales instances using AWS Auto Scaling. Developers can also create an autoscaling policy to manage multiple instances simultaneously.

History of EC2

EC2 was created by Chris Pinkham, an engineer who conceived it to scale Amazon’s infrastructure. Pinkham and Benjamin Black presented their ideas to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. He liked the paper and asked for details about virtual cloud servers.

EC2 was developed in Cape Town, South Africa by a team. Pinkham, Willem van Biljon and Willem van Biljon provided initial architecture guidance for EC2. They then assembled a team to develop the project.

Amazon launched a limited public beta-test of Amazon EC2 in 2006. In 2007, Amazon added two new instance types, Large and Extra-Large. In spring 2008, Amazon announced that static IP addresses were added, as well as availability zones and user-selectable kernels. This was followed by the August release of the Elastic Block Store ( EBS ).

Amazon EC2 entered full production on October 23, 2008. Amazon also published a service agreement ( SLA) that was available for EC2 on October 23, 2008. In 2009, Amazon added the Amazon Web Services Management Console, load-balancing, autoscaling, and cloud monitoring services.

As of 2019, EC2 ( ) and Amazon Simple Storage Service are the most popular of Amazon’s AWS Products.

How EC2 works

Register at Amazon’s AWS site to get started with EC2. To manage EC2, they can use the AWS Management Console, the AWS Command Line Tool ( ), and AWS Software Developer Kits ( STKs ).

The developer chooses EC2 in the AWS Services dashboard and then clicks ‘launch instance’ from the EC2 console. They can then choose an Amazon Machine Image ( AMI) or create an AMI that contains operating system, applications programs, and configuration settings. After the AMI has been uploaded to Amazon S3, it is registered with Amazon EC2, which creates an AMI identifier. After this is done, subscribers can request virtual machines as needed.

While an EC2 instance is running, data does not remain on it. However, a developer can use Amazon Elastic Block Store volumes for extra durability and Amazon S3 to backup EC2 data.

VM Import/Export lets a developer import virtual machine images from on-premises to Amazon EC2, which then turns them into instances.

EC2 also offers Amazon CloudWatch that monitors Amazon cloud resources and applications. Users can view graphs and set alarms and get statistics on AWS data. AWS Marketplace is an online shop where customers can sell and buy software that runs on AWS.

Amazon EC2 instance types

Instances enable developers to increase computing capabilities by renting virtual machines instead of purchasing hardware. An EC2 instance can be used to run Amazon Web Services applications.

Amazon EC2 offers different instances types, sizes, and pricing that can be used for different computing and budgetary requirements. Amazon EC2 provides an instance type that can be used for general purposes, including memory, accelerated computing, and storage-optimized workloads. AWS has a limit on how many instances can be run at once in any given region. This depends on what type of instance. There are different sizes available for each type of instance, depending on the CPU, storage, and memory needs of each company.

Cost

Demand instances let a developer create resources according to their needs and then pay per hour. Reserved instances (RIs), offer a discount on one- and three-year contracts. Developers can also choose a convertible RI that allows them to modify the instance type, operating systems, or tenancy. A second-hand RI can also be purchased from the Amazon EC2 reserved instance marketplace. Developers can submit bids for Amazon EC2 capacity (called spot instances) for a workload that is flexible in start and end times. A developer can choose an EC2 dedicated host if a business requires dedicated physical server space. These hosts are hourly charged and allow the business to use its existing server-bound software licenses including Windows Server or SQL Server.

 A breakdown of Amazon EC2 instances and their associated prices.
 

Benefits

It is simple to get started with EC2. Developers can also commission multiple instances of EC2 at once, allowing them to increase or decrease their capacity quickly. EC2 gives you complete control over your instances, making it as easy as if you were running the machine in-house.

It is a secure option for computing, query processing, and cloud storage due to its flexibility with multiple instance types, operating system options, and software packages.

Challenges

To avoid expensive, long-running instances that are costly, developers need to manage their resource utilization.

Security Developers must ensure that all public-facing instances run securely.

Scale deployment — managing a large number of instances can lead to cluttered environments that are difficult and costly to manage.

Developers often start by using default Amazon Machine Images for managing the AMI lifecycle. Custom configurations are likely to be needed as computing requirements change.

Amazon EC2 instances provide ongoing maintenance. These virtual machines run in Amazon’s cloud. They are dependent on physical hardware and can eventually fail. AWS informs developers when an instance needs to be moved because of hardware maintenance. This requires continuous monitoring.

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